Experimental Vaccine Against Cervical Cancer Said to Be Promising
September 17, 2003
In preliminary trials, an experimental vaccine against two human papillomaviruses most commonly associated with cervical cancer has yielded extremely encouraging results. "The vaccine breaks new ground in the battle to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases," said John Schiller, a researcher with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md. Schiller spoke at the 43rd annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a gathering of microbiologists in Chicago.Adapted from:
GlaxoSmithKline conducted a trial of 1,100 women in which the vaccine proved 100 percent effective against repeated HPV infections. A similar but separate trial by Merck and Co., published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, was equally promising.
Schiller said the vaccine, given in three separate doses, could potentially prevent up to three-quarters of the 500,000 cases of cervical cancer reported annually, since the two HPV strains cause about 75 percent of those cases.
The researcher also noted that the vaccine could be a boon for women in developing countries who are not routinely screened for cervical cancer. Subject to the necessary approvals, Schiller said, the vaccine could be on the market within three to five years. He noted the vaccine could still face a number of obstacles, such as securing parental approval for teens to be vaccinated against an STD.
"There are sociological issues here," said Schiller, adding that the vaccine could be positioned as an anti-cancer agent. Researchers believe the vaccine would be effective only in young women who have not been sexually active, not in women who have had repeated HPV infections. Schiller said further investigation is needed to determine how long the protective effect of the vaccine might last.
Agence France Presse
09.17.03; Louise Daly
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.